Planning Application News: Queen Edith’s Way

Note: This is an extra service for readers of this email and blog, where I bring you news of planning applications in Queen Edith’s, along with details on how to provide your opinions on the applications to the council planning committee. All feedback on this service is welcome.

Where is the planning application for?
3 and 5 Queen Edith’s Way, near the Long Road crossroads

What does the site look like?

What do they want to do?


I understand that the owner of no.5 has bought no.3 and wishes to demolish both properties at the same time. There is no indication of what might be built in their place. The demolition application comes from Gibson Developments Ltd.

What do the houses look like?


No.5 Queen Edith’s Way (above) is a detached house which was bought just over a year ago for ?1,950,000. It would therefore surely be Cambridge’s first ?2 million home to be demolished to – presumably – make way for something even more expensive. No.3 Queen Edith’s Way (in the background, below) is a smaller, but still substantial, house, built to the rear.


When is the last date for local people to comment?
I’m not sure that anything can be done. According to the application’s covering letter: “Our understanding is that the Local Planning Authority is not in a position to resist the demolition of the building in principle, but the prior notification process simply gives the Council the opportunity to regulate the details of demolition in order to minimise the impact of the activity on local amenity.” So I am unsure if there is anything local people or the Council can do about this.

Carter Jonas continue: “It is trusted that you have sufficient information to validate this application, and to commence the 28 day period within which it should be processed. It is understood that if the Council does not respond within 28 days of receipt of the application, then the owners will have deemed authority to proceed with demolition.” The letter is dated 17th October. However, the application was not validated until 26th October, and not published on the City Council website until 2 November. The website gives a “Standard Consultation Expiry Date” of 16th November and a “Determination Deadline” of 22nd November.

Where is there more information available?
Click here to read all the documents on No.5.
Click here to read all the documents on No.3.

How do I make a comment?
I would suggest the best people to contact with questions and comments are:
The City Council case officer, Charlotte Burton – email
• City Council Planning Services, Tel: 01223 457200
• The application’s agent, Peter McKeown of Carter Jonas – email, Tel: 01223 326809
• Your local City Councillors:
– Councillor George Pippas – email
– Councillor Tim Moore – email
– Councillor Jennifer Page-Croft – email

You must quote references “16/1889/DEMDET” and “16/1890/DEMDET”

As well as commenting to the council, please add any information which you have below, for other local residents to read.

23 Replies to “Planning Application News: Queen Edith’s Way”

  1. It makes me so angry that perfectly serviceable family homes all over the ward are being lost for redevelopment, invariably as flats. This is perhaps the fifth site just on the top stretch of QEW to see this happening in recent years.

    As this is such a big site perhaps it will be properly provided with adequate car parking spaces . This would contrast with the outcome for sites such as the recently demolished 317 Hills Road, where one family home will be replaced by eight flats, supplied with only 5 parking spaces. The Council’s own Highways Officer noted the likely knock-on effect with overspill parking on local streets, but permission to develop was still granted.

    Its size may also mean that the development will meet the threshold for ‘S106’ payments to the City Council (developer contribution to mitigate impact of growth). Again, at least in this way the local community might gain some small benefit *if* the funds are spent on facilities in the local area.

    But Queen Edith’s Way, and the surrounding area, is clearly characterised by family houses, and this character is being diminished by piecemeal development. Moreover, the city needs dwelling spaces for all types of households and – unpopular a statement as this might be – at all price points. Households who can afford, and want to live in, detached family homes aren’t going to disappear, or choose to occupy a two bedroomed flat. I can’t understand a planning policy that builds cookie cutter new family homes on previously green space, like the Ninewells Development on Babraham Road, while consenting to the demolition of attractive and characterful elements of the existing streetscape.

  2. Agree with all of the above. It is absurd that there are no real regulations regarding the demolition of sound houses, but entirely appropriate in this fine city, whose Council doesn’t have a planning policy. No doubt the developers will point to the backdoor developments further along QEW as a precedent, and doubtless the Planning Committee will claim to look at the development proposals on their own merits then wave them through. The city is driven by absentee developers who destroy diversity to make a packet.

  3. I don’t understand why you need planning permission to build something new (so that you allegedly don’t have a negative impact on the area) but you don’t need planning permission to demolish 2 sizeable houses which in itself despoils the area big time.
    As a planning authority why would you want to let someone demolish major structures without any idea as to what they are going to put in their place. Surely the 2 activities should be considered together as a package.
    Secondly, why as a developer would you want to incur the expenditure of demolition if you have no certainty on what you will be allowed to build new. One can only assume that there has been some form of informal chat with the planners that has given the nod to some scheme that has not been shared with the people most concerned and affected by the activity.

  4. Gibson Development’s website says “We have acquired a major new site close to Cambridge city-centre and the Addenbrooke?s medical campus. We are currently drawing up plans and designs for the project and we are engaged in discussions with the local planning office in this regard.” So clearly conversations have been had to afford them the necessary degree of confidence.

    Mark’s comment about absentee developers is not quite right in this instance – Gibson’s registered office is at 341 Hills Road. We could invite ourselves round for tea and ask them what they’re up to …

  5. Maybe they’ll come over all community-minded and let us know what they’re planning. You never know.

    I don’t know the developers, maybe they’re lovely people with the area’s best interests at heart, but if they are planning some high-density multi-storey apartment block to milk every last penny out of the site, I hope the council give them a really hard time. People say that to demolish perfectly serviceable houses with no planning permission for a replacement property is risky. I think it’s quite the opposite. If they applied to knock down these houses and build a load of flats, I suspect the council planning committee simply might not let them. But if they just knock them down anyway, then the council have to decide between an empty space and whatever is being proposed, and the latter may well be preferable in a city where the population is growing faster than the accommodation is increasing.

    And what’s the worst that could happen? They’ll have paid the thick end of ?3million to get this far. The plot is at least as big as the ones on the corner of Long Road/Hills Road or Cavendish Avenue/Hills Road, where in both cases three houses were built which will now be worth ?5million+ between them. So even in the unlikely situation where they were only allowed to build three detached houses, they’ll make a profit. And if the council are more accommodating and allow a multi-storey block of flats, the developers will be able to make a lot more. I can see this leading to many more instances of perfectly good properties being demolished with no planning permission for a replacement. We need to be very careful.

    1. But the Gibson website says quite clearly that they are already in discussion with planners, so to have got to this point they are presumably confident of the outcome. Question is, at what stage will the planning ‘process’ stop being conducted behind closed doors and deign to let anyone else know what the bloody hell is going on?

      1. I went to the planning meetings regarding the similar scenario south of the same stretch of QEW when two properties were purchased by developers, very quickly demolished, and development plans presented. It was perfectly clear then, more than ten years ago, that the developers had cultivated members of the committee and planning officers. All the reasonable parameters went out of the window. More council tax revenue for flats: what’s not to like? An extremely depressing experience.

  6. The developer is a decent builder who lives locally (grew up in this community) and who is nearing completion on the flats at the corner of QEW and Mowbray Road. He has kindly agreed to cut a small corner off this plot to enhance visibility for road users at this dangerous corner.

    Sadly the value of the land is far higher than the current properties, and the planning committee has no effective powers to prevent this. I’m particularly sad about the house behind which has a wonderful garden.

    Righteous indignation can’t stop the extraordinary rate of growth in this part of our City, nor provide the transport infrastructure and housing needed to cope with it. We have yet to see plans for the inevitable block(s) of flats on the closed nursing home close by.[1]

    Demand for new housing will rise as an additional 25,000 + jobs are created on the biomedical campus, ARM, University exam business… We have a short time to put in mitigation before this is upon us with all the increased traffic and pollution.

    [1] It seems they simply want to turn it into a hotel ? Chris

    1. “Righteous indignation can?t stop the extraordinary rate of growth in this part of our City,”

      What Tim appears to be saying is that we should feel grateful that this is a scheme brought forward by decent local builder, because no-one can do anything anyway, so suck it up residents of QE.

      Have I got that right?

    2. What makes a decent builder Tim? Someone that you know? They all seem to be hands-in-glove with the Council. Is this the same one that developed two other plots on the same side of QEW a few years ago?

  7. I cannot believe Cllr Moore’s attitude about these two houses! I have lived in the area for over 60 years and am horrified at No 3 and 5 being demolished. Selfishly it will impact on us considerably as we overlook these houses from our property. If the developer has lived in the area for a considerable time, why does he not see how this will change this part of Queen Edith’s Way for the worse?

  8. Reverend Teddy Boston, the “Fat Clergyman”, friend of Rev W Awdry (author of “Thomas the Tank Engine”) and also himself an author, lived at no.5 Queen Edith’s Way for many years, as did the Boston family from beginning of 1900. Mrs Boston is applying to have a blue plate on no.5 but the City Council has made up their mind and sent me a message this morning saying that there is no proof Rev Boston lived there (!).

    Mrs Boston will contact the council, but unfortunately, as we all suspected, a deal has probably already been made and indeed people from the council were at nos. 3 and 5 a few weeks ago looking around with a plan to determine if/how the development will affect the environment!

    When I asked why they were taking pictures of my house, they said that they were from the council and that there was a plan, but could not talk about it. I think we should exclude from the conversation the local councillors supporting this type of development. There are plenty of fields around Addenbrooke’s where they are already building hundreds/thousands of flats; why one of the nicest houses in Queen Edith’s Way has to be demolished for developers to make money is not clear to me, as it is not clear if only the developers are the ones making money out of this.

    Besides, very few people of those really needing houses will be able to afford them. The fact that the developers are local makes things even worse for me.

    This is all very sad; in 1964 and 1987, Rev Teddy Boston and his wife applied to have a dwelling at the end of their garden, and in both cases the applications were refused by the council, the reason spelled out in the notice being the effect on the local environment. Now after 30 years, affecting the local environment is not a problem for the council anymore, and indeed is praised by some councillors (see above).

    It is also a smart move first to apply for demolition and then planning. When there is nothing left to defend it will probably be easier to build horrible blocks of flats. Who will explain this to the nice muntjac deers and foxes enjoying themselves and playing now in our gardens?

  9. A plea to everyone who is appalled at this latest example of the ongoing destruction of Cambridge:

    Write to the City Council Planning Committee (not to local councillors who are very obviously in favour) and to as many newspapers and media outlets as you can think of. In short, if we stir up a fuss we might, just might be able to change things. Or at least we embarrass those, or representatives, who are sitting by and letting this all happen.

    1. Sadly, unless there’s some sort of listing or other restriction on a building, I believe it’s every person’s right in this country to destroy their own home. I don’t think the Council or anyone else can stop it. What they Council can do, I assume, is to say they will fight overdevelopment of the land released by demolishing buildings in this way. They can at least resolve to make things as hard as they are able for the developer, surely. You’re absolutely right, Dara, embarrassing them may be the best way. Membership of the City Council Planning Committee is shown here and you can click on the names of members to find their email address and other contact details.

  10. “He has kindly agreed to cut a small corner off this plot to enhance visibility for road users at this dangerous corner.” – that tells you everything about OUR Cllr’s priorities.

    Come on Cllr Moore – stand up for the people that elected you and not “decent builders” destroying this community with their luxury apartments! Lets see some family homes where kids have more than a balcony to play on.

  11. Cllr. Tim Moore canvassed me last Sat evening and after I went for him in a big way over his defence of the developer of the Mowbray Rd/QEW block of flats he eventually said: “Yes, but we want that corner of land on the roundabout”. I despair over the planning decisions which are being made – Cllr Moore says he does too, but just how, when our elected councillors play fast and loose like this, do we mere mortals ever get our views heard, let alone respected?

    1. I totally agree. Our city and county councillors are doing NOTHING to preserve the good things about Cambridge. National politicians are even worse….Cambiridge is a Vanity Project. Silicon Fen, Biomedical Campus…..attracting international attention. Fabulous high tech housing complexes…but nothing for local people.

    2. The Council has a vested interest in the development of single occupancy plots as it generates more council tax. Snouts in the same trough as the builders.

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